Automotive Care Tips

Every season exposes your vehicle to many different elements. Follow these tips to make sure your car runs smoothly, no matter the weather.

Winter
Summer
Fall
Spring
All Year Round

Winter

Holiday season is upon us, and along with the great excitement of parties and the possibility of visiting with old finds and family comes the needed additional attention to your vehicle to that this season can pass by with only good memories.

A few basic things we need to inspect before cold weather hits are the battery, fan belt, washer fluid, wiper blades, heater and defroster operation, and your antifreeze or coolant protection level. Also recommended to insure safety in most conditions would be a good flashlight, a small bag of playground sand, a light blanket and a set of gloves.

Your battery is a necessary item to operate the vehicle, checks of the electrolyte (water/acid) level are a must. A badly discharged battery can freeze. This condition could lead to an explosion when trying to start your car or trying to jump start a non starting vehicle. Remember you need a fully charged battery if for no other reason than to run your hazard lights in the event of some trouble.

Check your drive belts. Many of your later year model vehicles only have on belt and monthly visual inspections are suggested. Look for glazing or deterioration, have a friend bump the engine with the key so that it rotates and the entire belt can be glanced at and not just certain areas of it.

The wintertime usually presents the largest amount of work for your wipers, both blades should be intact and clean the windshield completely without leaving streaks. An often-overlooked item is the washer fluid. Special cleaners are suggested. These can be purchased almost anywhere and protect the system from freezing, clean the window better, and provide a safer system for the driver.

A simple check that can prove extremely helpful when driving in the winter months is a test of your heater/defrost system. Try these out before you need them to insure proper operation and a more comfortable driving experience.

Radiator condition, antifreeze content, and a visual inspection of hoses and clamps need to be done periodically but especially important is the antifreeze content during cold month operation. Check for external leaks. If you have to add coolant regularly during your inspection, the system has to have some form of leak. Look at the condition of hoses and related transfer items. Telltale evidence of a dry crust around the sealing areas indicates at least small seeps. Use an antifreeze tester to determine your protection level. If the coolant is over two years old or found to be rusty, you may need to have the system flushed; however, some new coolants come red in color so be certain of your situation before performing work you may not need. Each car has specific needs. Check with a trained repair facility or your owner’s manual whenever questions arise.

The sand, blanket, flashlight and gloves are suggestions to help you in the event of some problem that may occur during these next few months while you are on the road.

Hopefully these winter tips can help you to experience only the fun times of our upcoming holiday season and your vehicle will be able to serve you with a trouble free winter.

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If you can’t stand the heat – you may want to get out of Texas!

Summer time is here and with it we must renew our vows to keep our cars and ourselves running cool.

The cooling system, a necessary item of maintenance is often times shortchanged. By this I mean we absent-mindedly believe that a check of the coolant level is all that is required. Not so, the cooling system is comprised of sound components such as the radiator cap, thermostat, the coolant mixture, along with the cooling fans, fan clutches, hoses and clamps. All of these items should be inspected and serviced as required.

The radiator not only stores coolant but also is the area of heat exchange for the hot coolant coming out of the engine. Today’s vehicles have lightweight plastic/aluminum designs, which are more efficient but are not leak proof. Check for telltale signs of seepage for any visible cracks in the plastic tanks themselves. Also keep an eye on the recovery tank level. If you have to add coolant, it most likely has some form of leak.

*Warning: Never remove your radiator cap on a hot engine. The cooling system develops pressure and produces a high temperature in the coolant itself. Burns can be experienced unless extreme caution is used.

The belt needs to be in good condition, clean, and properly adjusted. A slipping belt creates heat which can damage other items (usually effecting the bearings). Also, the heat shortens the life expectancy of the rubber component itself. Check for cracks and actual deterioration or contamination. On many of today’s vehicles there is only one belt since this controls your water pump, A/C and power steering is critical that the belt be in good condition and replaced periodically. Also, look at the routing of the belt and visually inspect the grooves and the outer appearance of the pulleys and tensioners for flaws and wear. The pump may be one of these items but more often than not, in today’s cars is now hidden inside the timing cover. The pump in this situation can be most easily examined during your maintenance of the timing belt itself.

Hoses will become hard with age and can even experience an internal deterioration. To check correctly, make sure the engine is off and cooled. Gently roll the hose and squeeze. It should not be excessively hard or brittle. Cracking is indicative of flaws or wear. The pump in this situation can be most easily examined during your maintenance of the timing belt itself.

Thermostats will weaken with age and should be replaced at some point in the life of your vehicle. On many cars and trucks the antifreeze should be drained at 30,000 miles. This would also be an excellent time to service your thermostat. As always, we suggest that you refer to your own specific owner’s manual for service intervals because some of today’s vehicles are good for up to 100,000 miles.

Cooling fans may be incorporated with the water pump of electric in their design. Visually inspect the fan for damage to the blades or for cracking if plastic. If the fan has a thermostat clutch which is four years old or older, it most likely should be replaced. Electric fans also need to be inspected. Be careful, as some times these fans will come on even if the key is turned off.

Hot weather is also demanding on batteries and tires. Take a quick look at these items periodically. Check the battery electrolyte level if possible and add only distilled water when refilling a low cell. Clean the connections and cables and make certain that your terminal ends are tight. Check your tire for good tread and air pressure at least once a week with a gauge.

We hope that these few insights will help you and your family enjoy a problem-free summer. Remember to always capture and recycle antifreeze correctly. Accidental spills can be harmful to pets and our environment.

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Fall

It’s no secret that in today’s world we heavily rely on our vehicles. Taking good care of them will ensure their reliability for our needs and greatly increase the safety for everyone on the roadways.

October as a celebrated month for motorist awareness began in 1980 in the state of Ohio, and in 1981 was adopted on a national level. The event is observed by auto technicians, federal state and local agencies, non-profit organizations such as ours and many after-market entities.

Good car maintenance is crucial to keeping the highways and byways safe, but in addition to this proper maintenance will improve a vehicles gas mileage, help to extend the useful life expectancy, reduce the chances of breakdowns both major and minor, and most likely increase your cars resell value. The benefits far outweigh the time and energy used.

This time of year is an excellent choice for all of use to expand our awareness of vehicle maintenance. The changes that we will soon be experiencing in our temperature and weather will place demands on our cars that have not been experienced since the previous winter. We all want to make certain that tires are in good shape and that goes for the spare as well. A flashlight, jack and lug wrench are items that every car needs. Traffic is also increased this time of the year due to school bound transporters. Often these vehicles will be operated by young drivers who stand a great deal to gain by a little instruction by concerned adults on preventative maintenance. Many families can do the basic maintenance in their own and reduce frustrating events on the road.

We recommend that you keep some type of driving record or log book in your car. This will allow easy reference to items such as fuel mileage, oil change intervals, tire history, wiper blades, service intervals, transmission records and a variety of other titles. A simple inspection can help a great deal towards improving your car’s performance and reducing air pollution.


Spring

Please check back soon!

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All Year Round

Gas prices are at an all time high, and with that in front of us it becomes more important than ever to keep our vehicles operating in as good a condition as possible. Good car maintenance is crucial to keeping our cars safe but in addition, good maintenance also improves gas mileage, extends the vehicles life, prevents major break downs, increases resale value, and even improves air quality. Unfortunately, many people avoid basic car maintenance. Some feel that they can’t do it or even that it may take too much time. In reality, simple and easy items can prove very beneficial.

  1. Keep tires inflated to proper level. Remember, some tires may look fine even when low. Keep a tire gauge handy and check all tires, including the spare, every two weeks.
  2. Keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance schedules. A poorly tuned car can waste 10-20% of the fuel you buy.
  3. Make sure you change the oil and air filters as needed. Clean oil lubricates and reduces internal friction whereas dirty air filters can rob you of efficient fuel mileage.
  4. Keep your vehicle as light as possible. Packing unnecessary junk will cost you in gas mileage.
  5. Above all else, watch your mileage. When changes occur in the miles you can drive from one tank of gas to another, your car is telling you something is wrong and it should be checked out.

It’s no secret we depend on our cars. They take us to the store and across the state. Taking good care of them insures that they will take good care of us for hundreds or thousands of miles. Basic maintenance is easy but for bigger jobs you can depend on help from family-owned businesses across Texas. Log on to www.technetprofessional.com for local shops ready to serve you and your family’s needs.

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